I approached this movie with much anticipation. Director and writer Alfonso Curaon has delighted me before with The Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban while the films chosen by George Clooney always have a certain gravitas (ba dum… tsk!).
I arrived at the IMC and realised I had forgotten one of the pile of 3D glasses I have at home which is making it treacherous to open that particular wardrobe.
Cuaron has captured better than any other director in the history of film what it really must feel like to be in space, the claustrophobia of a space suit, the constant difficult repairs to space stations, satellites, the restrictions of being inside a zero gravity space station and the feel and danger of a spacewalk where it is easy to propel yourself with the smallest of movements and very difficult to stop. All of the above and the weight of the equipment they are working on and the speed of a mass travelling through space were the elements of the film that impressed me most. These elements have all been verified by actual astronauts.
Certainly there were many moments when I held my breath and one or two moments where I was truly startled. But there were times where I found myself cringing at the dialogue, and the clunky and sentimental themes that seemed as heavy as the astronaut’s equipment and driven home with ferocious impact. There are references to Star Wars and nods to 2001, (Alien at a stretch) and even a ridiculous one to Wall-E which brought me out of the story completely.
While it is beautiful to look at and incredibly atmospheric I felt a bit disappointed and cheated perhaps because I was expecting something better but what I did get was a story with clichéd themes and somewhat cheesy characters. There were plot devices that even with my feet planted firmly on the ground I couldn’t believe were accurate.
If you your expectations are not high and you are the forgiving sort then the film will be quite enjoyable.
It is certainly worth going to see just don’t expect to be blown away by anything other than the effects.
Gravity is in Irish cinemas now.